I must admit, I have felt a little apprehensive and sad these past couple of days. I don't really know why but I am pretty sure it has something to do with the beginning of the school year. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do and really can't imagine doing anything else. However, back in May, when I looked out at all of my classes (I teach high school math, about 140 students per day), they had become so familiar to me. I knew the kids, knew many of their parents, knew some of their interests, which sports they played and which clubs they were in. Now. I feel like I have a new group of strangers sitting before me. And yes, this happens every year. It is exciting as well as scary. I always wonder if I'm going to bond with this new group. What are their grades going to be like? Are they going to work hard or am I going to have to keep after them to constantly do their work? Every teacher faces these questions at the beginning of each new year I'm sure. It's something that is unavoidable, but still a bit scary.
Another factor is that even though my own biological children are only 10 and 7 years old and have just entered 5th and 2nd grades, every year is another year closer to them being grown and leaving. I also realize that as parents, raising them to be good, independent individuals is what God wants us to do and why He gave them to us in the first place. And don't get me wrong either, when the day comes for college, I will encourage my girls to go somewhere away from home. I went to college away from home and honestly feel that by doing it the way I did, I got the "full" college experience. I think it just makes me appreciate them a little more right now. Even when they are whining and fighting, I thank God for them every day.
I have also read a couple of articles recently about people who would once have been called "empty-nesters" who found a whole new life once their children left home. I'm not sure that I will do that, but I do hope that my husband and I are both healthy and active and able to enjoy at least some years of retirement together after our teaching careers are over. We have said that we will buy some sort of motor home and travel in it during the winter months while working as ushers at Busch Stadium during the summer months! That would be pretty cool!